If you are providing services to Internet, you should be watching the trends on Internet. There are various web sites providing information. The one I want to mention here is ten questions Internet Execs should ask and answer.
Who are your potential customers? It turns out that USA, Russia, China, Brazil and India are the largest Internet markets. So let’s take a look at how they are doing in IPv6:
· United States: United States government has been pushing IPv6 for some time now. There are several Internet service providers already providing Ipv6 addresses.
· China: China started planning for Next generation Internet back in 2002. They have fully functional IPv6 backbone and they even provided a showcase with 2008 Olympic games which were provided from IPv6 infrastructure. (The link is IPv6).
· India: India government has recently decided to implement IPv6. They will be using Ipv6 by 2012 according to an IDC study.
· Brazil: Brazil has been using Internet through IPv6 for a couple of years. In fact south America has the fastest growing IPv6 address space in the world.
· Russia: Use of IPv6 has been on the rise for Russia according to research made by Google.
This means that top 5 of largest Internet markets are ready to use IPv6. If you are interested in how much addresses are allocated in each country, there is a list you can check out here.
How are they accessing your site? The fastest growing area is mobile devices. There are around 120 million subscribers using iphone+iTouch+ipad and adding 60 million each year assuming the rate is constant. In just 4 years Japan Social networking switched from desktops (83% desktop/17% mobile in 2006) to laptops (14% desktops/84% mobile in 2010). This means mobile operators will needs lots of IP addresses for those mobile devices and the trend will increase in the near future. Please keep in mind that nearly all mobile platforms currently support IPv6 addresses.
Implementing IPv6 is not the only option for mobile operators as they can still use IPv4 together with NAT. However using such technologies will break certain scenarios such as targeted advertising which is going to be a large market. As long as the infrastructure is ready there will be a shift to IPv6 addresses pretty quickly.
When the end user is using IPv6, they will need extra services for accessing Ipv4 Internet sites. The overwhelmingly used technology is 6to4. This means, your potential customers will need to pass through gateways to access your Ipv4 sites. There will be different services in this space with various degrees of success. There will probably be some IPv4 islands which will not be accessible from IPv6 addresses.
In a short time (probably starting in a year) mobile users will start having Ipv6 address. They will want to access IPv6 based services as they will not need to pay for 6to4 services or hit extra performance penalty. There will be a first mover’s advantage for web sites presenting IPv4 and Ipv6 addresses. The others will slowly or furiously (depending on your area of service) be getting fewer hits every day. For advertisers gathering IPv4 addresses used behind NAT will not provide detailed information so they will choose sites that could give them Ipv6 addresses. There will be less opportunity your site will be chosen for advertisements.
Moving to Ipv6 is not going to happen overnight. However due to increase in mobile devices, Ipv6 will first be used by them. If you currently are or planning to provide services to mobile users, you need to start now or you will start losing customers and advertising income soon.